What are some of the common symptoms of autoimmune disease?
Rash, GI symptoms, low grade fever, chest pain, joint pain and swelling. These symptoms are common with most autoimmune diseases, but this is not an exhaustive list. It is important to keep in mind that there are over 200 symptoms that you can experience with any given autoimmune disease. This is one of the reasons why autoimmune diseases are difficult to diagnose, because they all tend to mimic each other.
Tracking Your Symptoms
Tracking your symptoms is the single most important thing that you can do to begin advocating for yourself. I recommend purchasing a calendar or journal to track the symptoms you experience every single day. Along with your symptoms, it is also important to note your stress level, the food you ate, and your exercise. Those key things will be important for identifying your triggers.
Talking To Your Doctor
It is super important to know you are your own best advocate and tracking your symptoms is the first way you begin to advocate for yourself. Advocating for yourself will aid you in the diagnosis process. Also remember, it can take an average of 3 years for you to receive an autoimmune disease diagnosis. For me it took 16 years. I was only in the 3rd grade when my symptoms and abnormal bloodwork first began. When presenting your symptoms to your doctors, keep in mind that you must be having symptoms for at least six months, for it to be considered a chronic illness.
When visiting your doctor, present them with your symptom tracking journal that you have kept over the past few months. Most doctors will already have a good idea of what is going on when you present them with your symptom tracker. But if your doctors seem a little bit slow to react to what you are experiencing, request these test:
Complete Blood Count: Gives an accurate depiction of your WBC and RBC count.
Antinuclear Antibody Test (ANA): Helps you know if your systems is attacking healthy cells, and if there is an autoimmune disease present in the body.
Blood Clotting Time Test: Can detect If blood clots are forming, and inflammation rates .
Complement Test: Checks for the presence of inflammation.
Urine test and biopsies may also be requested if you are having rashes, or if you suspect there may be something wrong with your kidneys.
Remember that nobody can tell your story like you can and you are your own best advocate.
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